Brain Diseases

There is a wide range of brain conditions from infections and injuries to brain tumors, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions negatively affect your ability to perform daily tasks.

What are Brain Diseases?

The control center of the body is considered the brain and it regulates growth, development, and other body functions. Moreover, all actions, thoughts, and feelings begin in your brain. It is also considered a part of your nervous system that processes the signals and sends responses back to organs through nerves and the spinal cord.

Unfortunately, there are many conditions that can impact your brain and negatively affect an individual’s behavior, personality, and ability to process information.

Types of Brain Disease

Check below the general categories of brain diseases:

Autoimmune Brain Diseases

This type of brain condition usually occurs when your immune system attacks a part of your brain. One of the most common conditions is multiple sclerosis (MS). In any case, some people may experience autoimmune encephalitis. In this condition, a person may experience confusion and involuntary movements.


People who experience this brain disease often notice seizures. This is an electrical storm in your brain that commonly interacts with consciousness and provokes convulsions (uncontrolled movements).


This type of brain condition often occurs when different germs invade your brain. One condition that may occur is meningitis. In this condition, germs invade your protective coverings in the brain. The common symptoms of this disease are headaches, confusion, stiff neck, and others. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment (antibiotics), you can eliminate this problem.

Mental Illness

In case you experience any of the following mental conditions, you may face behavioral problems and reduced ability to perform daily tasks. For example:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

In most cases, psychiatrists treat these conditions with medicines and therapies.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases

An accumulation of abnormal protein in your brain may cause the following brain conditions. Commonly, neurodegenerative brain diseases interfere with your memory, movement, and thoughts. These conditions occur usually in older people. For example Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

These conditions usually impact the growth and development of the brain and usually are treated by pediatric neurologists. In some cases, neurodevelopmental disorders could be inherited. Therefore, physicians may provide family counseling. There are a wide variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. Check some of them below:

  • Dyslexia
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)


This health condition occurs when a blood vessel that supplies your brain with nutrients gets blocked or bursts (rarely). In such cases, the effects are sudden and usually damage a part of your brain. As a result, you may experience speech, understanding, vision, and strength problems. In rare cases, one or more strokes can lead to dementia.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

These injuries often occur due to auto accidents, sports injuries, domestic violence, falls, gunshot wounds, concussions, and others. If a person experiences these injuries many times, it may provoke brain scarring. Hence, it may lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Neurosurgeons are doctors that help to treat injuries and bleeding. Psychologists and psychiatrists help to recover behavioral and thinking abilities after brain injuries.


These tumors usually develop when cancer spreads to other parts of your body including the breast, colon, or lung. Additionally, tumors that appear in your brain or brain coverings themselves are considered benign because they do not grow rapidly and do not affect nearly brain tissues. Otherwise, these tumors are considered malignant, which means they grow rapidly and negatively affect nearly all tissues of the brain.

The most common tumors that reach brain and brain coverings are Astrocytoma and Meningioma.

Are Brain Diseases Common?

However, many people suffer from brain conditions in the U.S. but it varies widely for everyone. Check below some examples:

  • Alzheimer’s disease (affects about 6 million people)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (may happen in 1 of 44 children)
  • Epilepsy (1.2% of the population suffers from this brain disease)
  • Brain Tumors are rare and affects roughly 1.3% of all cancers
  • Meningitis is a very rare condition due to the meningitis vaccine
  • Mental Illness affects 1 in 5 adults and it is considered very rare
  • Multiple Sclerosis (approximately 1 million people live with this condition)
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (220,000 hospitalizations were reported in 2018)
  • Strokes (roughly 800,000 people suffer from this brain disease every year)


The symptoms usually depend on the severity of the brain condition, location, and type. Check below some general symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

People with brain conditions may also notice some changes in their:

  • Balance
  • Behavior
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Coordination
  • Breathing
  • Physical sensations
  • Speech
  • Strength
  • Movement
  • Personality
  • Vision
  • Swallowing

If you suspect you have some symptoms or problems, immediately contact your physician.


  • Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices – these include a lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol misuse, and poor diet.
  • Injuries – Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by accidents and injuries. Furthermore, a brain injury may also increase your risk of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Infections – Meningitis is one brain condition that usually appears due to bacteria viruses, and other microorganisms.
  • Immune System Function – In case your body’s defense (immune system) attacks other cells in your body, an autoimmune disease occurs.
  • Genetics – A wide variety of brain diseases may happen due to some genes or genetic mutations. As per studies, genes and specific mutations are involved in brain tumors, neurodevelopmental disorders, mental illnesses, neurodegenerative disorders, and others.
  • Environmental Toxins and Radiation – You may be at higher risk of developing brain diseases if you are long-term exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals.


Commonly, physicians perform physical exams to diagnose a brain condition. It often includes motor, sensory, reflex, and thinking tests. Check below other tests:

  • Neurological Exam – In this test, a physician will check for changes in your coordination, hearing, eye movement, speech, balance, and reflexes.
  • Mental Function Tests – A healthcare professional evaluates your memory, thinking, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Laboratory Tests – These include blood, urine, stool, or spinal fluid testing. Thus, laboratory tests can help your doctor understand what provokes symptoms.
  • Imaging Tests – Physicians usually perform CT, MRI, and PET scans to see detailed images of your brain. Hence, it is possible to determine brain activity or areas of disease or damage.
  • Diagnostic Testing – These tests include Electroencephalogram (EEG).
  • Biopsy – In this test, your healthcare professional will collect a small sample of tissue for analysis. Therefore, your physician can identify if a brain tumor is cancerous or noncancerous.

Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What treatments are available for brain diseases?

Fortunately, different treatment options are available. Check below some examples:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy and counseling
  • Medications
  • Diet, exercise, stress management
  • Minimally invasive endovascular surgery
  • Physical and occupational speech therapy
  • Rest
  • Surgery

Can I prevent brain conditions?

Check below some general advice that may help to reduce the risk of brain disease:

  • It is recommended to manage existing chronic conditions (such as hypertension, high cholesterol diabetes, and obesity).
  • Seek medical care right away if you notice stroke symptoms
  • Avoid X-rays and exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation
  • You should stay socially and mentally active
  • Decrease the risk of head trauma by wearing a seatbelt and helmet when cycling
  • Try to limit or avoid alcoholic beverages, quit smoking, adopt a healthy diet, and regular exercise.

Can brain conditions be cured?

Unfortunately, not all conditions can be cured. For example, neurodegenerative diseases have no cure and treatment can help only. For more details, discuss it with your healthcare professional.

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